Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Monday, March 30, 2015


My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler 7:30 a.m. FS.  Since we had private ice I spent the time on figures.  It looks like we'll probably have two figures lessons this week which is fine with me.

Today's lesson was all about the waltz-8.  On the positive side -- really, this has improved a tremendous amount in the last month.  I'm not sure why, but I'll take it.  The negative side is that after the first circle I tend to build up speed and it's difficult to maintain flow and not rush the tempo (this is a similar issue to my issue with spins, in a way).  I was having issues tracking the circle on the BO edge -- on the L side I was tracking too far inside, and on the R side I was tracking a bit outside.  In the course of our lesson I was able to improve this somewhat by working to hold the free foot in front longer and keep the hands/arms down; this also helped me hold the circle around to close to where the step forward needs to be.  The 3s are mostly better.  The step forward and the FO edge are still weak (though the RFO is much better than the LFO).

After my lesson I had a few minutes so I worked on serpentines some more.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bronze Moves Critique

Today I had my Bronze Moves critique on the 8:15 a.m FS at Gilbert.

The plan, as I understood it, was that I would skate the 7:30 a.m. FS and we would have our usual lesson at 7:45 a.m., then have the critique at 8:15.  Unfortunately there was a miscommunication and JJ thought we were just having the critique, no lesson.  So I got on the ice at 7:30 and warmed up, etc. and.. no coach.  JJ got there about 8 a.m. so we worked for 15 minutes on the moves (basically ran the test), then started the critique about 8:17 or so.  Unfortunately the miscommunication etc. really frazzled me and I was just really upset and anxious and not at all in a good frame of mind to be doing a critique.  Oh well.

Here's the feedback I got (Judge's notes in bold and my comments following):

  • Perimeter power stroking -- fwd want to see more pwr; could push extension more; bk - should hold edges longer after push - correct edges on both.  I was really pleased with how these went, actually.  If I have to get more power on the FXOs I will have to really bend my knees and dig in more.  I didn't think I had particularly good crossovers but I guess they were good enough.
  • Forward power 3-turns -- don't hold bkwd position so long after 3; entry & exit edges on 3s should be held longer, correct edges!  These went reasonably okay from my perspective.  I was pleased that he noted my edges were correct.  In general I think he's exactly right.  I'm pleased that he didn't say I was too slow or needed more power, so that is something.
  • Alternating back crossovers to back outside edges -- flow good - even; need to push extension more; correct edges; crossovers scratchy. I was happy with how these went as well.  I guess I do need to work on the BXOs (everywhere not just here).
  • forward circle 8 -- foot down on left outside; all edges and flow were very good.  Agh!!!  I did indeed put my foot down.  Argh.  I did it in my lesson as well.  I just didn't have a good body position and couldn't hold the edge.  I ascribe it to being flustered and upset as it only takes a little bit of lack of focus to screw these up.  Geez.
  • five-step mohawk sequence -- mohawks could be smoother; 2 foot glides between steps 4 & 5; timing good/consistent; edges good and correct.  Considering how badly my mohawks generally are I was pleased with this.  The 2-foot glide thing was kind of news to me (so yay for having a critique!).
All in all I think I got some really good feedback.  Not sure how to proceed; I'll talk with JJ about this next week.  Right now I'm still in a really bad mood so I don't want to think about it too much.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015


My spins lesson with Lynne on the Chandler Ice Cafe.  I warmed up working on some Bronze moves.

Today's lesson:
  • standing start -- after a little bit of crappiness these were pretty good (lots of 3 rev spins), but then after a while got worse.  I think after a while I really do overthink this stuff.  I am doing a better job of sticking with the spin.  I just need to relax more, ugh.
  • windup -- mmph. I think the best I did was a 2-rev spin.  The greater speed on the entrance just seems to encourage me to rush things.
After my lesson I continued working on bronze moves as prep for tomorrow's critique.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Waltz-8 & 3s

My figures lesson with Lynne on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler.  As we had private ice, I brought my patch blades and we did a patch lesson instead of spins.

I had a good long warmup, scribed circles and ran the Preliminary test and worked on waltz-8.

Today's lesson:

  • waltz-8 -- we continued working on these.  They have really improved in the last month!  Still much to work on but they are smaller things.  I'm doing a better job on holding the 3 exit and then holding the BO edge longer.  The step forward from the RBO is not bad at all.  From the LBO it is still a bit weak but improving.  I'm really pleased.
  • 3s to center -- just a couple of minutes on these.  The RFO3s were pretty bad, LFO3 was better.
After my lesson I had a few minutes to work on serpentines.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bronze Moves

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  About 6 skaters and 4 coaches, so not too busy, but people were running programs all the time so there was that.  I warmed up with some Bronze moves, then worked briefly on spins and managed a very nice 4-rev spin from a standing start, after several misfires.  Yay!

Today's lesson:

  • Perimeter XOs -- could get a bit more power on the BXOs.  Not bad in general.  Work to hold extension on the FXO side.
  • power-3s -- eh.  Okayish.  Still need to hold the entrance to the 3 longer.
  • BXOs to BO edges -- the first time was not so great.  Did them again and they were much, much better.  Not quite happy with the clockwise BXOs though, they are a little awkward.  Need to dig in more for more power.
  • circle-8 -- ugh!  They were horrible.  Ice was crappy and I had no flow :-(.
  • 5-step mohawk -- meh.  I need to concentrate more on getting a good mohawk.  Some were okay, some weren't.  On the L side in particular I need to concentrate on getting turned better.
  • toe loop -- just a couple of minutes on these at the end.  JJ says I'm turning too much (too swingy) after the 3; need to think of it as going in a straight (ish) line.
We are going to try to get a critique next week.  CSSC test session is 4/24.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sideways Circles

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler Ice CafĂ©. I warmed up with edges, then scribed some circles.  Since there were a total of 8 (!) skaters on the ice (plus several coaches) all doing patch, space was limited -- so I did something I'd always talked about doing: I scribed my circles "sideways".  That is, instead of the short axis being parallel to the long axis of the rink, I made the long axis parallel to the long axis of the rink.  I'd always wondered if that would weird me out.  It didn't, but read below.

Today's lesson:
  • FO8 -- pretty good.  Now that I am paying attention to it, I am doing a reasonably good job of bringing my pushes in so they are the same on each side.  Yay!
  • FI8 -- really nice!  I traced really well, pushes were good.  Yay :-)
  • waltz-8 -- improving, actually.   The funny part was that since the circles were sideways and not too far from the boards, when I stepped forward to the FO edge to return to center the boards were RIGHT THERE.  Which both freaked me out and also seemed to help me do a little better on staying on the circle (thus avoiding a collision with the boards :-) ).  Since I've been concentrating more on getting the exit from the 3s better the other stuff is getting better also.  Still a ways to go to be passable but I feel like the logjam I've experienced with this may be breaking.  If so it will make me happy beyond measure.
  • BI8 -- some time on this to finish up.  Actually not that bad, especially for not spending much time on them lately.  The R side is actually fairly good.  L side is a bit lacking in control; I tend to get up on my toe a bit and in trying to fix that I am then overcompensating and curving in too much.  Ugh.
After my lesson I worked on serpentines a bit.  Still need a better push and flow on the FOI part.  Ugh.

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Spin Progress

My spins lesson with Lynne on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler.

I warmed up with Bronze moves; they are about where I left them.

Today's lesson:

  • standing start -- after a bit of frustration I was able to do a much better job of relaxing and holding the entrance edge longer and not forcing things so much.  The result was a number of much better spins, including several that were 3 revs.  Yay!  I was really happy with this.
  • windup -- much the same; really rushing things but eventually I did manage to get myself to slow it down a bit and got a couple of 2 rev spins.  As I reminded myself, it's tempo that counts, and even if I'm moving faster I still need to slow the tempo down.  Progress!
After my lesson I worked on toe loop and salchow for a little bit.

All in all I was really happy with my progress today!  Now if I can just be more consistent it will really help :-).

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Moves & Toe Loop

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  This was a make-up for our missed lesson last week.

Today's lesson:

  • perimeter XOs --  we worked on getting a better, longer FXO -- holding out the cross and bending the knees more.  I can do nice crossovers when I actually try, I'm just not good at remembering :-(.
  • power-3s -- ugh.  We worked on making the BXO a bit longer and also getting an actual power-push after the 3, something I've not really worked on much.  The BI edge after the BXO is too flat so I am diagonal going into the next 3 instead of perpendicular to the axis.  Blah.
  • toe loop -- the first one I tried was sort of okay (somewhat cheated but not that bad).  It went downhill from there, unfortunately.  We worked on getting a better/flatter 3 (really, like the salchow) with a strong check and holding open the free hip before the pick-in.
I talked with JJ after the lesson about allocating my practice time and he suggested 3/4 on moves and 1/4 on jumps/spins until after I test.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Salchow & Spins

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  A bit crowded today -- you can tell it's spring break!  I warmed up with Bronze moves as best I could.

Today's lesson:

  • program debrief -- we spent a little time talking about PCAS and how things went.
  • spins -- just a little work on these.  I had done some okay ones from the line before my lesson (including one that was 3 revs) but these all stunk.
  • salchow -- mostly the entry.  Working on getting a good check and keeping the free hip up.  Ugh.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Preliminary Test & BO8

My figures lesson with Lynne on the Chandler Ice Cafe.  My hour's worth of practice this morning really seemed to help :-).

I scribed some circles and then we started our lesson:

  • FO8 -- pretty good actually.  I am doing a better job of bringing my pushes in so that they are all about in the same place, which is the biggest thing I felt was lacking on my FO8 and FI8.
  • FI8 -- really nice.
  • waltz-8 -- we actually made some progress on these today!!!  I was so excited.  I made some progress with holding the exit of the 3 and also tracking the circle on the BO edge, and that all helped improve the step forward, actually.  So it was a lot better today :-).  I guess we'll see if this progress sticks or not -- I hope so.
  • BO8 -- just a little time on this and it was actually really nice!  Again it helped that I practiced this morning :-).
We also talked briefly about the Sherwood competition and I expressed that I'd like to try to skate a different figure than in the past. Tentatively we thought we might do serpentine. So over the next 5 months we'll spend some extra time on that.

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Patch Perseverance

I had private ice this morning on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler so I used it for patch practice.  I worked through the Preliminary test, then spent half an hour working on the waltz-8.  Bleah.  Next I worked on BO8, BI8 and then just a couple of minutes on 3s to center.

It was really nice to have some time to concentrate on this stuff again.  BO8 and BI8 improved after a little practice.  Waltz-8 still stinky.

Monday, March 09, 2015


I skated the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler.

Before my lesson I ran through Bronze moves, then worked on spins and mohawks.

Today's lesson:

  • standing start -- about the same.  I got a couple 2 rev spins but that was about it.  
  • windup -- also about the same.  Maybe I am not just not meant to spin.

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Friday, March 06, 2015

2015 PCAS Free Skate

Today I skated my "Ashton" free skate program at the 2015 Pacific Coast Adult Sectional Championships.

I did not have practice ice today (I had it last night).  I was a little concerned about this but not too much, as I really felt that the things I could prepare for, I was prepared for; and as for the rest if I didn't already know it I wasn't going to fix it now.  I got a great night's sleep and spent the day watching some great skating and relaxing.

About 35 minutes before my skate I got my costume and boots on and then had some time to hang out while waiting for my event. I had time for a last minute pep talk from my friend Agnes, which really helped as I was feeling pretty negative about things.

Finally it was time to check in and wait for our event to start.  I was skating with 3 competitors -- Mark Lui, Boone Lee, and Keith Nordine.  I'd skated with the first two before; the 3rd I'd seen skate an exhibition at MidWinter.

Our event started and they called us out for the warmup.  I was skating second, yay!! I had a good warmup, had a chance to warmup my spin and salchow and all my worrisome areas.   I actually got a decent spin!  Then I was worried that I'd gotten my one good spin for the day and wouldn't do it in the program... oh well. :-)  Finally it was time to come off.

I didn't watch the first competitor (Keith), I just tried to talk myself through my program and be in a good frame of mind.  Then it was my turn.  I took the ice, got in my position... and started slipping/turning a bit.  Not uncontrollable but it was a little awkward -- fortunately the music started pretty promptly and off I went.

The footwork section went well; the lead-in to the waltz jump/side toe hop was good and right on time. The next footwork went well and the spin more-or-less came off -- again, not enough revs to count, I'm sure, but I ended it in a great pose so I went with it.  The salchow was not so great but I didn't fall or anything and I was ahead of the music.  I had a little issue getting into the forward pivot (but I had oodles of time), then did the back pivot... and found myself either forgetting or just not in the right position to get into my final pose (not sure what happened, really).  So I made up a final pose that was sort of the same but the legs were different and went with that.  Close enough.

I bowed to the judges, collected several tossies (yay!) and skated off.

In the end I placed 4th of 4.  From what I could see I didn't have enough elements (that counted!) to have a chance of winning.  Oh well.


Thursday, March 05, 2015

More Practice Ice

After a very long day of competing and watching others compete, I had a half hour of practice ice (no music, this time :-( ) at 7 p.m. to work on my free skate.

Ugh.  Just ugh.  It was a pretty busy session with several high-level skaters (not just gold, but masters level) so I didn't try running the whole program start to finish. It's not really necessary.  I did run the whole thing in pieces probably 3 times.  I wore my costume for the first time since last year (ulp!) and it was fine.

I feel like the program itself is going to be fine, for the most part -- but the salchow and the spin!  Ugh!  Seriously, they are so bad, it is not even funny.  I have spent a lot of time working on them for the past several weeks but the suckage is so bad... I can't even, as the kids would say :-(.

Oh well!  Tomorrow at 5:50 p.m. we'll see how it goes.  At least I can sleep in tonight.  I need it.

2015 PCAS Showcase Light Entertainment

I skated my "She Blinded Me With Science " program for the last time (I'm retiring it) at PCAS this afternoon, here at the Sobe Ice Arena in Las Vegas.

There was a bit of kerfuffle about this program because of my table that I use for holding the props.  For PCAS, competitors enter through the hockey boxes but my table wouldn't fit, both because the bench blocks the way and also the door won't open all the way.  So I would have had to lift the table up and over to get it on the ice; which would have taken to long and had a high probability of dropping my stuff on the ice or otherwise being a mess.  I talked with registration, who checked with the referee, who agreed I could bring my stuff in from a different door.  We then had to work out exactly how this would work.  I had thought about skating over from the hockey boxes when I was announced but that would have taken too long, and also I noticed the door in question was not open-able from the ice side (!).  In the end, I got Melissa and Mary to open/close the door for me and I just went off through that door after the warmup and then came on and off from there, which worked fine.

I was skating against two other men, Scott and "Wild John" (that's really what it said on the starting order).  We went out for the warmup and after a little bit of nerves I managed to go through a couple of my elements and generally felt pretty good.  At the one minute warning I grabbed my stuff (I realized I needed my guards since I wasn't coming back to the hockey boxes) and went off through the other door.

Scott skated first and did a pretty cool "marching band" program.  Then they announced me so I got my stuff on the ice and skated into position.  As I did so I got a bit nervous again but it passed.

The music started, and off I went.  Everything went well; but I didn't feel like any of it was really... great?  Just okay.  I've been getting more and more nervous about the spin every time I do the program (it's doing it in the sunglasses) but it was okay.  Really, everything went quite well but I think I've done it a bit better in the past (like, at Autumn Antics).

Finished on time, grabbed a couple of tossies and skated my stuff off the ice (thanks Mary and Melissa!).

Wild John then came on and did.. an entertaining but kind of odd program that was all in the center of the ice with some nice spins and interesting footwork.

In the end Scott was first, I was second and John was third (the skating order!).


Practice Ice

I arrived in Las Vegas last night, and had my practice ice this morning at 10:45.

It was okay.  Not as crowded as I feared; and while it was busy it was definitely workable. On the negative side I was, for some strange reason, really really nervous for the first 10 minutes or so.  On practice ice!  How weird.  So I had to work through that and then it was okay.

I had a reasonable skate.  I was wearing most of my costume except the lab coat (but including the wig).  I didn't have any props except the sunglasses and I did practice with those quite a bit, both putting them on and skating in them.

They played music in the session and I was about the 4th person in so I got to run it with music after a warmup (I had just gotten over my nerves when it was time to skate).  It went pretty well.  After that I worked mostly on the spin and a little bit on the other elements but really, I know this program so well and I've done it so much I was feeling pretty good.

I got off the session and had plenty of time to eat, watch skating etc. before my event.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

More Spins & Last Program Prep

I was up really late packing for Sectionals so I wound up skipping my skate and lesson this morning in favor of 2 more hours of sleep :-(.  What can I say, it's a long drive to Vegas.

I did skate the Chandler Ice Cafe at lunchtime though, for some program work and one last spins lesson with Lynne.

Today's lesson:

  • standing start -- ugh.  It took me a number of tries before I got myself to wait on the entrance 'til it comes around.  And then I couldn't get the free leg to come in.  Yuck.
  • program entrance -- This also was not so great.  I did get a couple that were 2 revs, that's about the best I could manage right now.
All in all... I've put a lot of work in on spins and I just feel like while I've made some progress it is so slow it just makes me want to scream.  Why does this have to be so hard?  Oh well.

After my lesson I ran my free skate twice and my showcase light once.  The good news is that I am finishing on time and feel like I'm skating faster.  Spins are pretty awful and salchow is too. Oh well.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2015


I skated the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert this morning to work on my program.

I warmed up with Bronze moves as usual, then ran my free skate with music.  The good news is that I am finishing on time or early... the bad news is that that's because my spin and salchow are not really happening.  Grrr.  So I took some time to work on that stuff, then went back and ran it again with music.  Ulp.  Not much better.

A lesson with JJ tomorrow morning, last chance to work on this. Yikes.

Monday, March 02, 2015


My spins lesson with Lynne on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Chandler.

Before my lesson I ran Bronze Moves to warm up.  I've moved my starting position around so that I will do the harder side of the power-3s further from the judges :-).

I ran the free skate once with music.  It was kind of okay; the spin actually sort of happened but the salchow was horrible.  After that I worked on the salchow and got one that was kind of okay (not much "jump" in that jump though :-( ).

Today's lesson:

  • standing start -- ugh.  Not much better than last week.  A few that were two revs but that was about the best.    I finally was getting better entrances but not bringing in the free leg well.  Yuck.
  • program entry -- I managed a couple that were 2 revs.  I was doing a better job of holding the free side back on the step forward (hopefully that will translate to the standard windup) but still tending to rush things.  Ugh.
After my lesson I had just a few minutes so I ran the light program (meh) and the free skate again.

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